Looking for ways to prevent a yeast infection ?
by Dr Erum ILYAS
There are multiple risk factors for yeast infections- antibiotics by mouth, pregnancy, birth control, diabetes.. If you think you have a yeast infection, I first need to stress how important it is to see your doctor to accurately diagnose a yeast infection. Many times what is labeled a recurrent or chronic yeast infection may actually be misdiagnosed.
Lichen sclerosus et atrophicus, contact dermatitis to the blue dye in tampons and feminine hygiene napkins, bacterial vaginosis, psoriasis etc are some of the more common issues that occur and can mimic the symptoms of a yeast infection. Since the treatment and management is different from a yeast infection some will think that their ‘yeast infection’ won’t go away when it’s actually not one!
The role that probiotics play in the prevention of a yeast infection is based on understanding that the vaginal tract has a bioflora of organisms- yeast and bacteria that are present. The most prevalent organism is lactobacillus. Lactobacillus plays a role in infection prevention since it sticks the lining of the vagina and produces hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid and other compounds to prevent other organisms from causing infection. The thought is that if you take antibiotics by mouth or change the pH of the vagina, the population of lactobacillus decreases making it possible for other infections to occur. Taking probiotics (often contain lactobacillus) restore the lactobacillus to this area to improve the ability to prevent infection locally.
There are a number of studies that show that the use of oral contraceptives can alter the concentration of lactobacillus short term and potentially long term depending on the one chosen. Interestingly, one study on mirena (iud) showed that initially lactobacillus goes down then goes back to normal levels after 3-5 years. However, the population of candida (the yeast that causes yeast infections ) continues to go up over 3-5 years.
Lower the glycemic index of your diet- I tell my patients to stop feeding the yeast!:)
Plain yogurt- not the fruit on the bottom stuff! This works like probiotics in that it restores the lactobacillus to the vagina.
Be cautious of using vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and boric acid- they do and can work however they can really burn and cause considerable discomfort if not done correctly.
Get some guidance from your doctor before you try these.